Several Injured as Tensions Escalate at Protest in Sofia Neighbourhood
Several people were injured after tensions escalated at a protest in the Orlandovtsi neighbourhood in the capital of Bulgaria on Sunday.
Nearly 200 people protested against the crimes committed by the Roma community with the protest escalating into a violent clash.
Initially, the protest was a peaceful one, but the tension escalated and several people of Roma origin were injured, Darik radio reports.
Three people were detained during the protest, while some of the other participants have been identified and are being searched for by the police.
The police presence in the neighbourhood remains heightened and there are ambulances as well.
On several occasions, the protesters attempted to breach the police cordon in order to reach the Roma houses.
Failing that, the protesters dispersed into small groups and took to the streets in search for people of Roma origin.
A lot of football fans jointed the protest, some of them carrying bats, while Roma had gathered in the neighbourhood armed with whatever was at their disposal.
Most of the protesters dispersed around midnight, but a new protest is expected to take place on Monday.
A fight between Bulgarian and Roma youths over loud music on Saturday evening, which had left six people injured and two detained led to the protest on Sunday.
The citizens of the neighbourhood have repeatedly submitted petitions with requests for heightened police presence.
The Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry Georgi Kostov and other high-level officials arrived to the neighbourhood in order to defuse tensions.
Kostov stated that the protest had not been permitted and no request for holding it had been submitted to Sofia municipality.
The Interior Ministry announced that it was carrying out a specialised police operation in the neighbourhood and police forces and the gendarmerie were dispatched to the area with their presence remaining heightened until tensions are defused.
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